JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 4, 2012) – The ETSU volleyball team opens its season-long five-game homestand this weekend when the Bucs host Atlantic Sun newcomer Northern Kentucky and three-time reigning conference tournament champion Lipscomb in Brooks Gym.
The Blue and Gold face Northern Kentucky on Friday night at 7 p.m., while taking on the Lady Bisons Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. Friday is also ETSU’s “Dig for the Cure” match, so fans are encouraged to wear pink in conjunction with breast cancer awareness. Donations will be taken throughout the match, while specially made “Bucs Battling Breast Cancer” T-shirts will be sold for $10 each, and fans that make a donation or purchase a shirt will be given the chance to win a team autographed volleyball. Also, in between the second and third sets, the volleyball team will throw out pink autographed T-shirts into the crowd. Meanwhile, on Saturday, a free cookout will be provided prior to the Lipscomb match, beginning at 1:45 p.m. outside Brooks Gym. The cookout is open to everyone and fans will also have the chance to meet the 2012 Buccaneer team.
ETSU (11-7, 2-2 A-Sun) is coming off a split last weekend at Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson. The Bucs were swept by the Eagles before rallying past the Hatters in five last Saturday. Junior Megan Devine (Kingsport, Tenn.) and sophomore Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) both recorded double-doubles, while sophomore Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) registered a career-high 12 blocks in the win. Devine finished with 19 kills, 13 digs, four blocks, and three service aces, while Rutledge added 24 assists, 10 digs, three blocks, and two kills. As a team, the Blue and Gold tied their season high with 18 blocks versus Stetson and held the Hatters to a .076 attack percentage (45-34-145).
Northern Kentucky (16-2, 4-1) has won four straight and swept both Mercer and Kennesaw State last weekend in Georgia. The Norse are a perfect 7-0 on the road and 9-0 in three-set matches in 2012.
NKU leads the A-Sun in hitting percentage (.252), opponent hitting percentage (.166), assists per set (13.03), kills per set (14.3), and service aces per set (1.7). Individually, sophomore Jenna Ruble leads the league in attack percentage (.362) and senior Jenna Schreiver ranks first in assists per set (11.45).
Friday marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
On Saturday, the Bucs face a Lipscomb team who enters Friday’s match at USC Upstate with a record of 8-8, 5-0. After dropping eight of their first 11 games to start the season, the Lady Bisons have won five straight. Likewise, Lipscomb is also coming off a pair of wins last weekend in the Peachtree State, as the Lady Bisons swept Kennesaw State and defeated Mercer in four.
Senior outside hitter and First Team All-Atlantic Sun selection Kaycee Green is coming off her second straight Player of the Week honor after averaging 5.29 kills per set and a hitting percentage of .310 on the week, including a hitting percentage of .429 against Kennesaw State. On the season, Green is generating 3.71 kills per set and hitting .236, while as a team, Lipscomb leads the conference with a .265 attack percentage in league play.
Lipscomb leads the all-time series, 9-5, but the Bucs snapped their eight-game losing skid with a thrilling five-set win over the Lady Bisons last season. Three ETSU players posted double-doubles in the win over its in-state conference rival. Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas) finished with 49 assists and 11 digs, Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) added 12 kills and 11 digs, and Devine contributed with 23 kills and 14 digs.
Fans unable to make the trip to Johnson City can watch both matches this weekend for free on ASun.TV, while live stats will be offered for both matches via ETSUBucs.com.
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BUCS BRINGING IT IN BROOKS
The ETSU volleyball team has won its first three games inside Brooks Gym this season after defeating Marshall (3-1), Western Carolina (3-0), and USC Upstate (3-0) ... as a team, ETSU is hitting a combined .249 (140-49-365) in its three home matches this season, while holding the opposition to a .110 (98-60-347) clip … Meredith Hardy is averaging 3.00 kills and 1.50 blocks per set and Megan Devine is averaging 4.80 kills and 4.30 digs per set at home in 2012 … as a team, the Bucs are averaging 2.10 aces per set in the first three home matches … furthermore, the Blue and Gold haven’t lost a home non-conference match since Sept. 10, 2010 when ETSU dropped a four-set match to Austin Peay.
As a team, ETSU leads the A-Sun in blocks per set (2.63), while Megan Devine and Meredith Hardy lead the league in kills per set and blocks per set … Devine is averaging 4.02 kills per set and Hardy is recording 1.41 blocks per set … meanwhile, in A-Sun play Devine leads all conference players in kills per set (4.36) and is tied for the lead with teammate Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.) in service aces per set (0.43) … Hardy is also averaging 1.86 blocks per set in four A-Sun games, placing her first in the league.
Megan Devine joined the 1,000-kill club on Sept. 3 vs. Marshall as she entered the match 14 kills shy of reaching the group at ETSU … Devine finished with 22 kills and recorded her 1,000th kill in the third set when her 14th kill of the match gave the Bucs a 13-11 lead ... for her career, Devine has 1,128 kills in 83 matches played and is 82 kills shy of passing Jessica Manchester (1992-95) for fifth all-time … senior setter Kayla Williams also reached the 1,000-assist mark in Tuscaloosa back on Sept. 8 … through 38 matches, Williams has 1,169 career assists … earlier this season, Meredith Hardy generated her 100th career block against Temple back on Aug. 24 at the Gamecock Invitational and she currently has 182 career blocks.
Both Meredith Hardy and Megan Devine look to keep their streaks intact … Hardy has recorded at least one block in 44 consecutive matches, while Devine has played in 82 straight matches and had registered double digits in kills in 16 straight matches until finishing with nine against Austin Peay on Sept. 7 … meanwhile, for her career, Hardy has posted at least one block in 46 of her 47 career matches played.